A Peaceful Place

With this week’s readings, I was really drawn to the Design for Change article for its instinctual take on fundamental human needs and what fashion design can do to exist peacefully within those needs. Max-Neef’s taxonomy of human needs are a deep reflection of what really motivates any one of us on a much more relatable level. We, without thought, need subsistence, protection and affection, but we also crave creation, identity, leisure, and our freedom. We activate these needs through a variety of satisfiers through being, having, doing and interacting.

When it comes to relating these fundamental needs to fashion design, it is almost as if the two are oblivious to one another. These two are hard to connect and make an intentional impact with the average consumer. Gratifying benefits happen when a designer is able to create connection between needs and fashion design and it is recognizable to the consumer. This is creating the ‘peaceful’ place that Max-Neef discusses, as our minds can rest at ease and not be distracted by the disruption of the market.

How might we create products that create a peaceful place for us? I think we overlook a lot of opportunities that align with this vision and focus design processes elsewhere – that lead to the quick dollar. However, I do see this type of design mentality emulated in children’s clothing. Why is it that baby and childrenswear create strong focus on creating a ‘peaceful’ place for the wearer, but this tends to fall off once we get older? There is an array of products like – “security” blankets, swaddling cloths, booties, etc – that create comfort and a bonding experience to the wearer. These feelings transfer to parents as they see their child is at peace and comforted. A child’s needs are absolute priority and parents do whatever it takes to make sure they are met. As we become older and more capable of meeting our own needs, we lead ourselves down the path of desirable objects that we think meet our needs.

It is quite interesting to me on where this transition breaks – influence from family, media, friends, etc. Maybe one route could be to begin with products that create a peaceful place starting at a younger development stage and grow from there? Personally, I could look in my closet right now and not find a garment that created that ‘peaceful place’ for me. I would find garments that have sentimental value, but nothing that originated from the design process. I think the more educated we become about designing for change and relaying it to younger generations, the better the design process will evolve to create peaceful products. We, of course, have a long way to go with trial and error, but I hope eventually we arrive with a more solid foundation.

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